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Hurtado Will Run Against Caballero in Dem Battle Royale
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 2 years ago on
December 29, 2021

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State Sen. Melissa Hurtado, a Sanger Democrat, said on Wednesday that she will run for re-election in her home district, pitting her against Senate colleague Anna Caballero in the June 2022 primary.

“For too long, Valley families hadn’t had the kind of leadership they deserved in the Senate and flipping this seat, and getting to work for our families and communities, continues to be one of the proudest moments of my life,” Hurtado, D-Sanger, said in a news release.

“We’ve been in some tough battles and had tremendous success over the last four years, but there is still more work to be done. That’s why I am excited to formally announce my campaign for re-election to the State Senate. I am looking forward to continuing the work we’ve been doing, building on our achievements and doing even more so that every Valley family lives in safe, healthy, and thriving communities.”

Caballero, D-Salinas, announced earlier this week that she would run in Senate District 14, same as Hurtado. The newly redrawn electoral maps combined parts of Caballero’s current SD 12 with parts of the current SD 14.

On Wednesday, Caballero announced the endorsement of civil rights leader Dolores Huerta.

The primary election is June 7. The top two vote-getters, regardless of party, advance to the November general election.

The filing period runs from Feb. 14 through March 11.

Parra, Fuentes Enter SD 16 Race

The remainder of Hurtado’s current constituents will be in SD 16, which has Kings County and parts of Fresno, Tulare, and Kern counties.

Robert Fuentes, a civil rights attorney, announced he will run in the district out of Porterville, where he grew up.

“The Valley is the food basket of the nation, yet too many Valley families continue to struggle to make ends meet. The Valley deserves better. We deserve better. And we must demand a bigger seat at the table,” Fuentes said in a news release. “I have dedicated my career to fighting for the Valley’s working families. I am ready to continue the fight in Sacramento.”

Fuentes had been living in Fresno previously. He currently serves on the city of Fresno Planning Commission, and ran unsuccessfully for a Fresno Unified school board seat in 2018.

Also on Wednesday, Nicole Parra — who had been campaigning for a Valley congressional seat — announced she is switching races. She served in Sacramento before as a three-term assemblywoman from the Central Valley, 2002-2008.

I’ve always wanted to be able to continue my work in Sacramento on behalf of the families here,” Parra said. “It’s just a perfect fit. So, as soon as (Hurtado) announced she was running up north, I jumped in and the support has been pouring in.”

Parra is currently registered in Bakersfield, but just outside SD 16. She says she will move within the district. Since her last stint in the Capitol, Parra worked in the governor’s office and as a consultant and lobbyist.

Robert Fuentes, above, announced he is running for state Senate. Nicole Parra, below, announced she is running as well. (GV Wire File/Nicole Parra campaign website)

Redistricting Changes the Lines

The new lines were drawn by the independent California Citizens Redistricting Commission, using U.S. Census population data.

Most of Merced and Fresno counties (except north Fresno, Clovis, and the mountain communities), as well as parts of Madera County, will be in the new SD 14. It includes the cities of Merced, Madera, and Sanger, where Hurtado lives.

It does not include Caballero’s longtime home of Salinas. Caballero would have to change her voter registration to live within the district. She does have a residence in Merced, her campaign says, which is within the new SD 14.

Senate District 12, represented by Caballero, is no longer a Central Valley/Central Coast district. Portions of Merced, Madera, and Fresno counties are now in SD 14. Portions of San Benito and Monterey counties will now be in SD 17 — which is not up for election until 2024.

The Caballero campaign says the new SD 14 will have 48% of Caballero’s current constituents and only 28% of Hurtado’s.

With redistricting, SD 12 will now represent north Fresno, Clovis, and wrap around Tulare and Kern counties to include parts of Bakersfield. State Sen. Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, announced she is running for re-election in that seat.

Like Caballero, Grove — who represents the current SD 16 — would also have to change her voting registration to a new district.

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David Taub,
Senior Reporter
Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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